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ASA (Ark Ascended) Graphic and PC Enhancements

Post of helpful Optimizations and Client side bug fixes for our ARK Players:

How to improve ARK Survival Ascended (ASA) performance

Many users struggle with ARK:SA's performance stutters, low FPS (frames per second), and graphical glitches. ASA is a STILL a highly unoptimized game, as even high-end hardware often isn’t able to achieve a smooth 60 FPS or even a stable 30 FPS. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it other than fine-tune the settings, which is what we’re here for!
The first thing to do is verify your graphics drivers is up-to-date. ARK: Survival Ascended is a demanding game, and if your drivers aren't updated, you'll encounter more issues. Here is where you can check for updates:
Next, set your Graphical Presets to low to turn all settings to low. From here, you can adjust specific settings to improve your performance and FPS. ARK: Survival Ascended has insane requirements and doesn't seem to be optimized well, so issues are expected until patches are pushed out. Here are the settings for improved PC performance in ARK Survival Ascended.

Step #1: Set your Launch options!

Setting ASA Launch Options!

You can squeeze more performance or fidelity out of ASA by using some command options. Add them to the game using the various game launchers and platforms:

On Steam, go to your library, right-click on ARK: SA and, select Properties and click on Set Launch Options.
Here’s a list of the best ones you can and should use: -high -lowmemory -sm4 -d3d11 -nomansky -window (-w 1860 -h 980 set this to your prefered window size)
On Epic, click the little Settings cog under ARK:SA to open the settings. Scroll all the way down until you see Advanced Command Line Arguments.

Many Console Commands can function as a launch option by adding a "-" in front of the console command, but some cannot be used in this fashion. The most common launch options are listed below.

Here’s a list of the most popular launch options:
  • -autoconfig - Restores video and performance settings to default for the current hardware detected. Ignores settings inside any .cfg files until this parameter is removed.
  • -dev - Enables developer mode. Also disables the automatic loading of menu background maps and stops the quit dialog from appearing on exit.
  • -condebug - Logs all console output into the console.log text file.
  • -console - Starts the game with the developer console enabled.
  • -toconsole - Starts the engine directly in the console, unless a map is specified with +map.
  • -dxlevel [level] - Forces a specific DirectX version when launching the game. This is useful if your graphics hardware is older, and gets significantly better performance in an earlier version of DirectX. Below are the most common modes used:
  • -dx12
  • -dx11
  • -dx10
  • Warning: Steam games no longer support DirectX 7 as a launch option. Using this can cause crashes. If you are using -dx7 make sure to remove it from your launch options.
  • -fullscreen - Forces the engine to start in fullscreen mode.
  • -windowed or -sw - Forces the engine to start in windowed mode.
  • -16bpp or -32bpp - Forces the selected color mode (bit depth).
  • -w [width] - Forces the engine to start with resolution set to [width].
  • -h [height] - Forces the engine to start with resolution set to [height]. This launch option does not need to be set in the presence of -w. The width value will determine the height automatically.
  • -refresh [rate] - Force a specific refresh rate.
  • -heapsize [kilobytes] - Specifies the heapsize (in kilobytes) which the game will use.
  • -nocrashdialog - Suppresses some memory could not be read unhandled errors.
  • -novid or -novideo - When loading a game with this parameter, the intro Valve video will not play.
  • -Sm4: Forces a simpler shade model that lowers the graphical fidelity. In our tests, this improved the frame rate by about 25%, but it also made the game look significantly worse. This command also weakens the lighting effect of torches and other elements in the game. Use this only if you have no choice, and use it along with the d3d10 switch below.
  • -d3d10: Forces the game to use DirectX 10 instead of 11 to boost performance at the cost of graphics.
  • -high: Forces high CPU priority, which might give you extra FPS. However, as discussed in this article, Ark isn’t a CPU-bound game, so unless you’re running tons of background applications, this command won’t do much. But it doesn’t hurt to have it on!
  • -nomanssky: Removes sky details, which will make the heavens look quite bland while possibly squeezing out more FPS. In our tests, this gave us a boost of 1–2 FPS, but we’re running it on a higher-end PC. Your mileage may vary.
  • -lowmemory: Lowers a few settings to make the game run on PCs with “only” 4 GB of RAM.
  • -nojoy: Switching off joysticks, joystick support.
  • -console: The option will force console opening once the game is started

Launch Options to Adjust Detail Levels and Graphic Rendering

  • +r_rootlod # - Adjusts Model Detail where # is 0 for high, 1 is medium, and 2 for low
  • +mat_picmip # - Adjusts Texture Detail where # is 0 for high, 1 is medium, and 2 for low
  • +mat_reducefillrate # - Adjusts Shader Detail where # is 0 for high and 1 for low
  • +r_waterforceexpensive # - Adjusts Water Detail where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • +r_waterforcereflectentities # - Adjusts Water Reflectiveness where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • +r_shadowrendertotexture # - Adjusts Shadow Detail where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • +mat_colorcorrection # - Adjusts Color Correction where # is 0 for low and 1 for high
  • Filtering Modes:
    • +mat_trilinear 0 - Use Bilinear Mode (least system-intensive)
    • +mat_trilinear 1 - Use Trilinear Mode (more system-intensive)
    • +mat_forceaniso # - Use Trilinear Mode (where # is 2, 4, 8, or 16 - higher levels of filtering require more system resources)
  • +mat_hdr_level # - Adjusts High Dynamic Range lighting effects where # is 0 for "off" (requires least resources) and 2 for "full"

Step #2: Set your Game Options!

Open the Options Screen from your ASA Lobby Screen. After altering all of these settings, remember to save them!
Recommend Settings
Video Settings - Panel I
Resolution = 1920 *1080 Windows Mode = Windowed FullScreen (I use windowed so I can tab in and out) Graphics Presets = Custom or Medium/Low Advanced Graphics = Medium View Distance = Medium Textures = Medium Post Processing = Low General Shadows = Medium Global Illumination Quality = Medium Effects Quality = Medium Foliage Quality = Medium
Video Settings - Panel II
Max Frame Rate Off Motion Blur = Off Light Bloom = Off Light Shafts = On Low-Light Enhancement = Off Enable Foliage & Fluid Interaction = On Foliage Interaction Distance Multiplier = 2 Foliage Interaction Distance Limit = 1.5 Foliage Interaction Quantity Limit = 1 Enable Footstep Particles = No Enable Footstep Decals = No GUI 3D Widget Quality = 0.5
We will now walk you through every option as many of them can impact FPS or boost/lower overall game performance: Please note that these options will not be the most optimal setup for all computers, but about 80% of them will see a huge increase in FPS from changing these settings.
Resolution – change this depending on your device and CPU/GPU, desktop computers should not have any problems running 1920×1080 but on a Laptop it’s recommended to use the 1280×768 resolution. Window Mode– ALWAYS have this in full screen, Windowed or Windowed-Fullscreen will decrease your FPS and cause lag and/or frame tearing. Note full window is NOT compatible with alt tabbing. Resolution Scale – lowering it down will decrease resolution but increase FPS, only lower this as a last resort if you have lag even with other settings optimized. World Tile Buffers, View Distance, Anti-Aliasing and Post Processing – set these to medium or low depending on your computer. General Shadows, Terrain Shadows, Ambient Lightning – configuring these to the lowest setting will provide you with a nice increase to FPS and overall performance. Sky Quality, Ground Clutter Density, Ground Clutter Distance and Mesh Level of Detail – set these between lowest-middle, these will most certainly lower your overall FPS if you have them on max. High-Quality Anisotropic Filtering – ON This feature creates smoother looking objects from various points of view. Motion Blur – OFF An unimportant aesthetic. Light Bloom – Personal Choice. Won’t affect performance. Can cause blinding bright spots. Light Shafts – Personal Choice. It doesn’t affect performance. Can cause bright Shafts of light. Foliage Interaction Settings - Personal Choice. Though the higher the setting the more FPS you loose to the current screen clutter. Footstep Particles and Decals - Personal Choice. It doesn’t affect performance. Just looks cool.
IF you have Nvidia DLSS. Set these Settings:
RTX Settings
Nvidia DLSS = On Super Resolution = Balanced Nvidia Reflex Low Latency = On
These are mostly for the In Game Photo Mode so turning them off will not harm you until you want to use the Photo Mode. Then you can re-enable them.
Camera Settings
Invert Y = Off Look Sensitivity = 27 (min setting) on both settings Third Person Camera Offset = Off Camera View Bob = OFF (So annoying) Disable Third Person.... = Off Player Camera Mode = Off Dino Camera Mode = LOOSE Camera FOV (Field of View) = Anything less than 50 Camera Shake Scale = 0 First Person Riding View = OFF (Personal Choice though)
Make sure to hit the SAVE button between each screen and there you go, your all set to enter the world of ARK ASCENDED. Hopefully with a good Framerate!

Step #3: Console Commands

Use these commands either in your Console Command Bar (Make a Cut and paste of the whole set)!
Console Commands

Nanite Console Commands & what they do

Explanation of each Nanites Console Command
r.ContactShadows 0 (Disables Small Shadows) (Low FPS Impact) r.DynamicGlobalIlluminationMethod 0 (Disables Lumen) (High FPS Impact) r.Lumen.Reflections.Allow 0 (Disables Lumen Reflections) (Medium FPS Impact) r.MaterialQualityLevel 0 (Disables Textures) (High FPS Impact) r.Nanite.MaxPixelsPerEdge 4 (Reduces Triangles For Nanite Meshes) (Medium FPS Impact) r.Shadow.CSM.MaxCascades 0 (Disables Shadow Cascades) (Medium FPS Impact) r.ShadowQuality 0 (Disables All Shadows) (High FPS Impact) r.VolumetricCloud 0 (Disables Clouds) (High FPS Impact) r.Water.SingleLayer.Reflection 0 (Disables Water Reflections) (Low FPS Impact) r.volumetricfog 0 (Disables Fog) (Low FPS Impact) ark.VertexCountScaling 1 (helps with the inventory bug)(Thanks, Undo.)

Optimized Command Presets:

Use the presets below to help with fps/ graphics/stutters. Go to single player or multiplayer and press the " ~ " key to open the console. Copy and Paste the commands from below as one message to the console and apply (enter)
Ultra (5% - 15% FPS Gain) r.Lumen.Reflections.Allow 0 | r.Shadow.CSM.MaxCascades 0 | r.VolumetricCloud 0|ark.VertexCountScaling 1
High (15% - 25% FPS Gain) r.DynamicGlobalIlluminationMethod 0 | r.Shadow.CSM.MaxCascades 0 | r.VolumetricCloud 0|ark.VertexCountScaling 1
Medium (35% - 45% FPS Gain) r.DynamicGlobalIlluminationMethod 2 | r.Nanite.MaxPixelsPerEdge 4 | r.Shadow.CSM.MaxCascades 0 | r.VolumetricCloud 0|ark.VertexCountScaling 1
Low (45% - 55% FPS Gain) r.ContactShadows 0 | r.DynamicGlobalIlluminationMethod 2 | r.Nanite.MaxPixelsPerEdge 4 | r.Shadow.CSM.MaxCascades 0 | r.VolumetricCloud 0 | r.volumetricfog 0 | r.Water.SingleLayer.Reflection 0|ark.VertexCountScaling 1
Potato (95% - 105% FPS Gain) r.ContactShadows 0 | r.DynamicGlobalIlluminationMethod 2 | r.Nanite.MaxPixelsPerEdge 4 | r.Shadow.CSM.MaxCascades 0 | r.ShadowQuality 0 | r.VolumetricCloud 0 | r.volumetricfog 0 | r.Water.SingleLayer.Reflection 0|ark.VertexCountScaling 1

Alternative Step #3: Adding the Console Commands via an Execute Command (For the very Brave! Requires File adjustments)

Adding the Console Commands via an Execute Command
So you can actually add a text file with all the commands, to your game install folder and leave the text file in the Binaries folder where a Win64 folder is (so the Binaries folder should have Win64 folder and your text file in it only)
File location:
....\common\ARK Survival Ascended\ShooterGame\Binaries
To create the file: 1. Find the Preset that best fits your PC and Playstyles. 2. Use Notepad and take a blank page and place them line per line without the (|) between. Save your file as FpsBoost.txt (example) 3. Put a copy into this file: ....\common\ARK Survival Ascended\ShooterGame\Binaries 4. Save your file! 5. Also save it in your documents folder in case ASA erases it in an update! 6. Then use the console command exec <yourfilename>.txt while in ASA in the tab bar, and it will execute every command within the file.
NOTE: (file names can be what-ever you choose) So my file is called fpsboost.txt and the command looks like this: exec fpsboost.txt

Make sure you have Battleye installed if you are going to play a Multiplayer game!

BattlEye Service:
If you are seeing one of the following problems, it might be due to the BattlEye service:
  • Game hangs at launch or fails to load
  • BattlEye failed to initialize
  • Kicked from the game
  • Stuttering/freezing when launching
You can troubleshoot those errors using the BattlEye FAQ here:
Additionally, you can try deleting the BattlEye folder by following the following:
  1. 1.
    Please close the game all the way out.
  2. 2.
    Then, go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\H1Z1 and delete the BattlEye folder.
  3. 3.
    Then, verify the integrity of the game cache through Steam.
If none of these fixes work for you, please visit H1Z1 website and the following troubleshooting guide.